Thanks for signing up to my newsletter list—as I finish up writing this today there are now 350 of you—and thanks as well for your patience, as all you've gotten after signing up (some of you many, many weeks ago) has been this great silence. The good thing, I suppose, is that any fears you might had about how much mail this list would generate have undoubtedly been alleviated.
This will remain an irregular mailing, made up of occasional bits of news or even more occasional newsletters such as this one. I'll send you news of upcoming books and sales, recent publications, and public appearances, with some commentary on what I'm reading and listening to these days. And when time warrants it, little bits of whatever else I think you might find interesting.
My plan is to send this out to you folks on the list first, then put it up on the website a couple of weeks after, so you'll get the scoop. I don't know about you, but I always love getting the scoop.
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One more thing. When people are looking for rare or out-of-print editions of my books, I tend to recommend that they try Booklynx, run by my friend Kathi Nash, as she usually has a lot in stock and her prices appear to be fair. Her email has recently changed. It's now: email@example.com.
Of course the big news is that Forests of the Heart is coming out in mid-May—the release date's been moved up to have the book out for some events that will take place around that time (see below for more details). A few sample chapters and more information is on the website.
For those of you who have been trying to track down a copy of Svaha, the reason it's been unavailable for awhile is that Tor is repackaging it for their Orb imprint. I've just proofed the galleys for the new edition and it should be out this year, probably in late summer/early autumn.
Coming out in October this year from Subterranean Press is Triskell Tales: Twenty-Two Years of Chapbooks which, as the title says, reprints all the Christmas chapbooks from the past twenty-two years as well as some other goodies. Again, more info and a link to Subterranean Press's website can be found on my own website.
Lastly, I've long been a fan of the Private Eye novel and back in the mid-eighties, I tried my hand at one. My agent at the time wasn't that keen on it (mind you, he also wasn't all that keen on Trader either) and nothing much came of marketing it, so it's been sitting in my files for awhile. Recently, while talking to Bill Schaffer at Subterranean Press about the above-mentioned collection, we got to talking about this book and the upshot is it'll be published under his imprint sometime next year. When I have more details, I'll send them to you through this list.
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I haven't been writing as much short fiction this year as I'm trying to concentrate on finishing The Onion Girl and actually delivering the manuscript on time for a change. But here are a few recent sales:
"Pixel Pixies," which was this year's Christmas chapbook, will appear in both this summer's edition of The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling), and in October as part of Triskell Tales.
"Trading Hearts at the Half Kaffe Café" was commissioned by Martin Greenberg for Single White Vampire Seeks Same. I don't know if they'll keep that title, but I hope they do.
"Making a Noise in This World" was commissioned by John Helfers for a DAW anthology called Warriors. The title of my story was taken from a song on Robbie Robertson's last CD, Contact from the Underworld of Redboy.
Salt Lake City, Utah; May 18-21 where I'll be Guest of Honour at CONduit 10 (May 19-21)
I'm also appearing (with MaryAnn) at the Salt Lake Public Library on Thursday, May 18, at 7:00 p.m. MaryAnn and I will perform a short concert of music, followed by a reading and book signing. The event is free and open to the public. The library is located at 209 East 500 South, Salt Lake City.
Madison, Wisconsin; May 25-29 where I'll be Guest of Honour at WisCon 24 (May 26-29)
I'm also appearing a bookstore in Madison called "Room of One's Own" on Thursday, May 25, from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m., where I'll do a reading and book signing.
Austin, Texas; May 30 where I'll be doing a reading/book signing at Adventures in Crime & Space Books and possibly a concert with MaryAnn.
Toronto, Ontario; June 20 where I'll be doing a reading/book signing sponsored by the U of T Bookstore at Hart House
Montréal, Québec; June 30 where I'll be doing an hour concert with MaryAnn, a reading, Q&A, and signing at Indigo
You can get more details on my website for all of the above. There are also other events coming up over the summer and I'll let you know about them when they're confirmed.
I wish I had more time to read, simply for pleasure, but between research and reading for my F&SF column, there never seems to be enough time. Since you can readily read what I've got to say in my F&SF column, either as the magazine comes out or on-line (www.sfsite.com/fsf/), I'm not going to repeat the titles mentioned in it here. And in fact, if I want to get this out at all, I'm going to keep this very brief. But I will update it when I can.
Anyway, at the moment I've got a few books on the go and I'm thoroughly enjoying all of them:
Gardens in the Dunes by Leslie Marmon Silko
The Memory of Fire by George Foy
The Books in My Life by Colin Wilson
1632 by Eric Flint
Which Lie Did I Tell? by William Goldman
A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert edited by Steven J. Phillips & Patricia Wentworth Comus
Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris
And yes, I still read comic books, though as far as I'm concerned, the only ones that really matter are Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore (even if you think you don't like comics, you'll like this), David Mack's Kabuki (Mack is a seriously brilliant artist), Matt Wagner's Mage (which, alas, has finished its current storyline; hope we don't have to wait as many years for the next installment as we did for this one), and anything by Charles Vess.
Okay, I might as well get it out of the way right at the start: Fred Eaglesmith rules. For a long time, MaryAnn and I were unfamiliar with his music, if not the name, and for some reason had never taken in a show or heard one of his CDs. Well, a few years ago we finally went to one of those shows and it was game over. Now we see him every chance we get, have all the recorded music we can find, and even have a running joke about him at our own gigs ("Okay, folks. For those of you counting, this is Fred song #3 of the evening…"). We invariably do one or two (or three of four) of his pieces at the Thursday night gigs.
The best introduction to his music is Drive-In Movie, full of all these wonderful story songs played out against a mostly acoustic, somewhat countryish backdrop. The follow-up CD, Lipstick Lies & Gasoline, adds a bit more of electric punch to the brew, while 50-Odd Dollars, the most recent, cranks that up another notch still. The earlier albums are all wonderful as well—pretty acoustic, and often recorded live.
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It might seem that I've lost much of my interest in Celtic music of late, but that isn't the case at all. The trouble is most of what seems to come out nowadays are these hybrid recordings—electric instruments with R&R arrangements, dub versions of classic tracks, Celtic music mixed with other World musics or club/dance/industrial backings, endless New Age permutations or Celtic compilations with the word "Celtic" in the title—and while some of them are fun to listen to, most of them simply don't have the staying power for me.
Celtic music is gorgeous as it is—plaintive airs, driving dance music—and a lot of these performers seem to lose sight of the simply beauty of the music in its purer form. So mostly I find myself listening to my old Bothy Band and Silly Wizard CDs, or some of the newer groups like Solas, Déanta, and the like. Last year saw only a few really outstanding discs get (and still getting) multiple plays on my CD machine. A couple of these are Lúnasa's OtherWorld and Lost in the Loop by Liz Carroll. These are artists who understand the music's inherent worth and work with that, rather than gimmicks.
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These days, especially when I'm writing, I'm listening to a lot of Bill Evans (the jazz pianist), not the Verve recordings that I usually turn to, but the earlier Riverside recordings, especially Moon Beams, How My Heart Sings! and the classic Everybody Digs Bill Evans. There are apparently enhanced versions of these CDs either just out, or coming out, but I see no reason to buy them since the original recordings are so outstanding just as they are. I was also delighted with the recent Columbia compilation of all the Miles Davis/John Coltrane collaborations: The Complete Columbia Recordings, 1955-1961.
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I'm not a huge guitar fan, though lately I have been enjoying a lot of that Nuevo Flamenco by the likes of Ottmar Leibert, Robert Michaels and the like, but Bill Frisell's acoustic/roots-based recordings of the past few years has me reconsidering the instrument beyond that Latin-style of playing. I'm particularly fond of Good Dog, Happy Man. His version of "Shenandoah" (one of my favourite songs) is worth the price of admission alone, though the CD on a whole is a wonder from start to finish.
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Recently MaryAnn and I caught Lila Downs playing in the auditorium of the National Art Gallery and were completely blown away by her show. It would take too long to describe here, so just let me say, if you see she's playing a show near you, don't miss it. Her music ranges from original compositions and traditional Mexican folksongs to material drawn from the Mixtec and Zapotec traditions and her delivery reminds me a little of Lhasa (whose La Ilorona CD is an utter delight). Downs has two CDs that I know of: Yutu tata Arbol de la Vida and La Sandunga.
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But the big excitement in the de Lint/Harris household these days centers around a couple of CDs that will be coming out this summer: Steve Earle's Transcendental Blues (supposedly along the lines of El Corazón and coming in June) and his sister Stacey Earle's Dancin' with Them That Brung Me (due in July, when she'll also be playing a local-to-us club, The Black Sheep Inn, in Wakefield, Quebec). Early copies of Stacey's CD can be ordered from her website (www.staceyearle.com), but I guess we'll all just have to wait for her brother's CD, except for those of you lucky enough to be on reviewer's lists for E-Squared releases, which we, alas, are not.
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I find it hard to stop talking about music; there are just so many great albums around. So let me just end with recommending a few more artists that get played around our house a lot: Kim Richey (a big favourite of MaryAnn's, her latest is Glimmer), Greg Trooper (especially Popular Demons), anything by Buddy and Julie Miller (their most recent solo albums are, Cruel Moon and Broken Things, respectively), Bab Kennedy's Domestic Blues (an Irishman gets the Twangtrust production), Cry Cry Cry (made up of Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell), Rock Art and the X-Ray Style by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, and…
Oh, it's just endless, isn't it? So let me finish up with a couple that were brought to my attention by readers that I'd like to pass on: Fists of Flood by Jennifer Daniels and Too Much Plenty by Beki Hemingway (think of a punchier Dar Williams as a touchstone for the latter), and last but not least, Terri Hendrix. I just love her Wilory Farm and she has a new CD due out any time now.
As often as we can, MaryAnn and I like to get down to the Sonoran Desert outside of Tucson, Arizona. We love this area, as you might have noticed from the way it creeps into some of my books and stories, and the fact that we have some wonderful friends there only makes it all that more attractive. There's something about this particular desert that just fills our spirits, recharging our batteries in a way that the eastern woodlands don't. (Mind you, these eastern woodlands charge up a different battery, so it's not like we're suffering here.)
This year we stayed at a B&B in the Avra Valley (which we first stayed in a couple of years ago on our last visit) and spent most of our time hiking and painting in the Tucson Mountains. Here's a link to some photos from the trip if you're interested in that sort of thing:
We also took the time to participate in the first Faery Festival at a Tucson toyshop called Mrs. Tiggy Winkles, which is odd for us, because here in Ottawa, there's a small local chain with the same name, but they're no relation to the one based in Tucson. I did a couple of readings and signings along with Terri Windling and Ellen Steiber, and MaryAnn and I played a short set of music. It was all good fun, and especially nice to meet some of my local readers—and some not so local who drove distances of a couple of hours or more to be there. Thanks to all of you for coming down.
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And that's it for this time. I make no promises as to when I'll manage to get another newsletter like this out, but now that the ice has been broken, so to speak, I'll try to send out little updates at least every month or so.
Thanks again for all your interest and support, and dream true.